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Refugee Rights Across Regions: A Comparative Overview of Legislative Good Practices in Latin America and the EU

Dr Jean-Pierre Gauci

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has identified a number of legislative good practices in Latin American asylum and refugee laws. At the same time, academics and policy-makers have long called for cross-regional comparative analyses of policies and laws to allow different regions to learn from each other's best practices.

In this article, we compare refugee legislations of Latin American countries with European Union protection standards based on UNHCR's legislative good practices across three areas: (i) Core Principles and Scope of Protection; (ii) Procedural Safeguards and Guarantees for Vulnerable Groups; and (iii) Integration. We find that six of 19 refugee laws in Latin America provide more expansive protection than the Common European Asylum System framework, whereas other Latin American countries fall behind. The gap between Latin American legislations and European Union protection standards is closer regarding procedural safeguards, the protection of vulnerable groups, and integration provisions. Finally, Latin American countries, on average, score significantly below the European Union regarding the core principles of asylum and the scope of protection. In the second part of the article, we engage in a qualitative discussion of these legislative good practices to allow for cross-fertilization, and deliver policy recommendations.

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